Leo is released from prison after serving time for car theft. His plan to go straight falls apart when he meets his corrupt uncle for a job and later an old friend working there. It culminates at the (railroad) yards.
1921. An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island.
In the rail yards of Queens, contractors repair and rebuild the city's subway cars. These contracts are lucrative, so graft and corruption are rife. When Leo Handler gets out of prison, he finds his aunt married to Frank Olchin, one of the big contractors; he's battling with a minority-owned firm for contracts. Willie Gutierrez, Leo's best friend, is Frank's bag man and heads a crew of midnight saboteurs who ruin the work of the Puerto Rican-owned firm. Leo needs a job, so Willie pays him to be his back-up. Then things go badly wrong one night, a cop IDs Leo, and everyone now wants him out of the picture. Besides his ailing mom and his cousin Erica, to whom can Leo turn?Written by
James Gray is a great fan of Claude Chabrol, he intended this movie as an homage to the films of Chabrol. The film opened at the Cannes Film Festival to the audiences whistles, something that greatly angered Chabrol. See more »
When Leo looks in the rear view mirror and sees Willie and Granada taking off their clothes, they are on the driver's side of Granada's car. When he turns around and looks, they are now on the right side of the vehicle. See more »
The Unrated cut is 113 minutes and two scenes from the original theatrical R-rated cut have been removed. This version is about two minutes shorter. The final scene in court when Leo testifies and states that he has reformed and is reentering society as a productive citizen, has been dropped. A brief scene early in the film in which Willie (Phoenix) describes the importance of favors and gifts and "making it happen" is also cut (this scene however does appears on the included trailer on the DVD). The end credits now begin with 'empty' views of the film's settings before moving into the credits list. Also included on the DVD are several deleted scenes. See more »
"The Yards" invites you to taste corruption and to witness an imposed morality and then slyly allows you to resolve its escalating entanglements. It is a well-acted morality tale written and directed by James Gray that is as topical now as when the first bureaucrat accepted graft. Mark Wahlberg's Leo Handler character is a loser who seeks to redeem himself from the neglect of his sick mother and the evil he has done to others. If only his friends and relatives had similarly good intentions. The world he inhabits is a society with the unwritten code of conduct to never snitch or else pay the consequences. The best scene involves Leo as he nervously proceeds with his orders to kill the policeman who can finger him in the rail yard assault. Can he justify yet one more crime in order to maintain the good graces of his benefactors? Joaquin Phoenix's character, Willie, is perhaps the most tormented figure, having to choose between his high-minded intentions and his immoral survival instincts. He becomes less the controller and more the henchman of what others tell him to do. The excellent cast gives "The Yard" a true flavor of the perverse nature of favoritism from Faye Dunaway and James Caan to Ellen Burstyn and Charlize Theron (in a surprisingly youthful dark mascara look). However, Joan Allen would have added a harsher, more pessimistic visage to the sometimes inappropriately bubbly Burstyn. This film displays well how corruption commands people's lives and how hard it is to break out of that code of conduct.
28 of 33 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this